Microsoft launches engagement mapping

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Microsoft to acquire Rapt
Microsoft to acquire Rapt

Microsoft Corporation announced on Monday that it would start measuring the effectiveness of online campaigns in a new way, called engagement mapping.

In the past, the last ad a consumer saw online or clicked on got the credit for the sale, lead or traffic. But with many more marketing channels available to online advertisers, consumers are often reached multiple times on different sites in different ways, according to John Chandler, principal analyst for Microsoft's Atlas Division. Instead of giving 100% of the credit to the last ad clicked, Engagement Mapping will take into account all of the marketing touch points when attributing conversion, he said.

Based on this concept, Microsoft said it will release a beta version of Engagement ROI, an integrated reporting capability within Microsoft's Atlas Media Console, on March 1. National advertising clients and agencies such as Mindshare Interaction, Monster Worldwide, Sprint and Citi Cards have already signed on to participate in the program, the company said.

“Engagement ROI spans the whole lifecycle of the campaign,” Chandler said. He anticipated that by using engagement ROI, rich media and video will start to look like much stronger performers in terms of driving sales.

What makes this unique is the fact that they are putting the information into the hands of the advertisers, said Roy Shkedi, CEO of AlmondNet, in response to the news. The advertiser can now have a report that shows the steps that led to the final acquisition, he said.

“On the positive side, it's a very good indicator that the current metrics and measurement tactics for online marketers doesn't really provide a comprehensive view of a campaign's performance,” said Mike Sprouse, CMO of AzoogleAds. However, he indicated that he was skeptical of Microsoft's solution. “I'm not sure engagement mapping is an easy to understand term,” he continued.

For it to reach broad adoption, it has to be general enough to encompass a wide variety of actions on the Internet and also needs to be really simple and easy to understand, Sprouse said.

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